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Monday, December 31, 2012

BYU LB Kyle Van Noy staying for senior season

In a press release from the Brigham Young Cougars, Kyle Van Noy made it official that he will stay for his senior season. Van Noy was named second-team All-American and Poinsettia Bowl Defensive MVP in 2012.

Just his style: BYU WR Cody Hoffman uses Twitter to announce return for senior season

By now, you have probably heard that Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Cody Hoffman has announced he will return for his senior season. It should have come as no surprise that Hoffman used Twitter to make it official.

BYU in NFL, Week 17: Unga activated, Fangupo crosses the country, Poppinga still popping people

The most exciting part of the final week in the NFL regular season for former Brigham Young Cougars was Harvey Unga finally being active for a game. Hebron Fangupo continued to play musical chairs leaving Seattle for Pittsburgh. Brady Poppinga continued to be a solid contributor in Dallas.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ranking Kyle Van Noy's Four Touchdowns

With two touchdowns in the Poinsettia Bowl, Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy now has four career touchdowns. Rarely does a defensive player score a touchdown. It is even rarer that a defensive player scores two in his collegiate career.

Recognizing how unique Van Noy's achievement was, BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL used his touchdowns as the subject of this week's poll question. We asked site visitors "Which Kyle Van Noy touchdown is your favorite?"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

All things Brett Keisel--his football career, his charity work, his future after football, and his Monday Night Football intro

The grandpa of former Brigham Young Cougars in the NFL is Brett Keisel. He is in his 11th professional season—all with the Pittsburgh Steelers. BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL spoke with Keisel the Diesel recently to ask him about his NFL career, his abundance of charity work, and whether his Monday Night Football introduction is a sign that he is at odds with BYU.

BYU Football: Did you know? (Kyle Van Noy's Pick-6)

Over the last two seasons, Brigham Young Cougars fans have gotten used to Kyle Van Noy doing what has rarely, if ever, done at BYU. He did several things in the Poinsettia Bowl that validate this statement. One that deserves special attention is his 17-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flashback: BYU blocks last second field goal to win second consecutive Las Vegas Bowl

Five years ago, the Brigham Young Cougars won their second consecutive bowl game in an improbable way.

Former BYU linebacker Poppinga flourishing as a utility knife for the Dallas Cowboys

Four weeks ago, former Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Brady Poppinga was out of football. After playing six seasons for the Green Bay Packers, including the 2010 season when the Packers won the Super Bowl, Poppinga injured his knee and was not brought back for the 2011 season. He popped up in St. Louis the next year and made 51 tackles in 15 games. That wasn’t good enough to satisfy Rams’ management, and he was without a place to play in 2012. Then he got a call from the Dallas Cowboys.

Brigham Young Cougars set three Poinsettia Bowl records, tie three others

The Brigham Young Cougars extended their school record for most consecutive bowl wins to four last week when they won the Poinsettia Bowl. BYU also continued its streak record setting play in bowl games. BYU set or tied six official Poinsettia Bowl records.

Monday, December 24, 2012

BYU vs. San Diego State Post Game Thoughts and Analysis

The Brigham Young Cougars finished the 2012 football season with a 23-6 win over the San Diego State Aztecs. It was a memorable game in many ways.

BYU in NFL Report, Week 16: Keisel and Poppinga strong in defeat, So’oto changes teams again, Fangupo active in Seattle

Two former Brigham Young Cougars in the NFL had their best games of the season. Four others were solid contributors for their teams. Vic So’oto has a new home, but there is a familiar face. Hebron Fangupo was cut from the Houston Texans before the season began, but now has a home with the Seahawks.

Friday, December 21, 2012

BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy shows he is ready for the NFL

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy was the obvious star of the Poinsettia Bowl. With each tackle, sack, interception, fumble recovery, blocked punt, and touchdown the junior recorded it was also obvious that Van Noy is ready to play in the NFL.

BYU defense delivers Poinsettia Bowl win by getting offensive

Whoever coined the old adage “defense wins games,” probably didn’t have this in mind, but it nonetheless was true in the Brigham Young Cougars 23-6 Poinsettia Bowl win over the San Diego State Aztecs. Whatever else can be said of the season, it has been a great year for the BYU defense, and they capped a phenomenal year with an even more incredible finish.

BYU vs San Diego State: Poinsettia Bowl 5 Game Observations

In a fourth quarter blockbuster performance, the Brigham Young Cougars extend their series dominance over San Diego State to six games straight.  Without a single touchdown until the fourth quarter, both teams had difficulty with field position and making things happen in the red zone. But the BYU defense led by a stellar Kyle Van Noy paved the way for James Lark and the offense to get the ball moving. Clutch punting by Riley Stephenson put the Aztecs within the 3-yard line four times in the game.

Here are my five game observations from the Poinsettia Bowl Thursday night:

BYU vs. San Diego State: Mo Moments

The Brigham Young Cougars beat the San Diego State Aztecs 23-6 in the Poinsettia Bowl. Perhaps more than any other BYU game this season, the Poinsettia Bowl showed how the momentum from one play can completely change the dynamics of a game.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

BYU WR Cody Hoffman expected to have a big game in the Poinsettia Bowl

Kickoff for the Poinsettia Bowl between the Brigham Young Cougars and the San Diego State Aztecs is just hours away. By the end of the night there will be a winner and a loser. A Most Valuable Player will also be named. Should BYU be victorious, wide receiver Cody Hoffman is the popular choice for MVP.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flashback: BYU sends off big senior class with dramatic bowl win

The 1983 Holiday Bowl represented the final game of their college football career for 33 Brigham Young Cougars. Many of these 33 players had been significant cogs in BYU bringing a 10-1 record and no. 9 national ranking into the game. On December 23, 1983, they left a lasting impression in the San Diego sod.

BYU vs. San Diego State: Poinsettia Bowl 5 Things to Watch For

The Brigham Young Cougars will head to the sunny coast on Thursday to battle the San Diego State Aztecs for the Poinsettia Bowl title.  This matchup between old WAC and MWC rivals will be a showcase of the Cougar defense and the Aztec offense.  With BYU’s quarterback still unannounced, San Diego State will have to prepare for the style of both Riley Nelson and James Lark.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on in Thursday’s bout:

BYU vs. San Diego State: A Grand Finale or A Fizzling Finish?

The Brigham Young Cougars (7-5) will conclude the 2012 season with the Poinsettia Bowl this Thursday against the San Diego State Aztecs (9-3). BYU can go out with a bang by beating the Aztecs or have a fizzling finish with one more disappointing loss. How the game will end, nobody knows, but one thing is certain—San Diego State won’t make it easy for the Cougars.

Monday, December 17, 2012

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s Poinsettia Bowl chess match

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall is in a Poinsettia Bowl chess match. It is clear that the chess match is focused on who will be the starting quarterback, but it isn’t so clear who Mendenhall is playing chess with. Is it San Diego State head coach Rocky Long, BYU boosters and fans, or Riley Nelson and James Lark?

BYU in NFL Report, Week 15: Pitta sets new career highs

The star of the week for former Brigham Young Cougars in the NFL was clearly Dennis Pitta. He had his best day, individually, as a pro. Bryan Kehl had his best game of the season, and Brady Poppinga continued his immediate impact in Dallas. On a down note, Vic So’oto is no longer on the Packers’ active roster. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Brigham Young Cougars can’t treat the Poinsettia Bowl the same as any other game

One maxim that Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall lives by is to treat every game the same. Next week’s Poinsettia Bowl, however, is not just like any other game, and should be treated differently.

BYU Football: Did you know? (Holiday Bowl Records

Taking a look at the Poinsettia Bowl records that the Brigham Young Cougars could break next week made me wonder how many Holiday Bowl records BYU held. The Cougars from Provo played in the first seven Holiday Bowls and 11 total. It has been almost 20 years since BYU's last appearance (1993).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Poinsettia Bowl records BYU could break or tie

The last two seasons, the Brigham Young Cougars have played in bowl games with a short history. This has resulted in BYU and its players breaking or tying several records for the respective bowls. In 2010, BYU set or tied 42 team and individual New Mexico Bowl records. Last year, BYU set or tied 17 team and individual Armed Forces Bowl records. The Poinsettia Bowl is another one of the newer bowls, which means the Cougars could repeat the record breaking performances of the last two years.

Here is a list of Poinsettia Bowl records that BYU, somewhat realistically, could break or tie. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Whether it's Nelson or Lark, the BYU offensive line is pivotal

The suspense over who will start at quarterback for the Brigham Young Cougars in the Poinsettia Bowl is capturing most of the headlines. As important as the quarterback position is, the offensive line may be just as pivotal to BYU winning the game as who is behind center.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Explaining why San Diego State loathes BYU

It was no secret that the Brigham Young Cougars would play in the Poinsettia Bowl this year. Once San Diego State became bowl eligible, it was no secret that bowl organizers were going to invite the hometown Aztecs to be BYU’s bowl opponent. San Diego State and its fans don’t make their feelings about BYU a secret: they don’t just hate BYU, they loathe the Cougars.

This deep hatred was manifest when BYU announced its move to independence. San Diego State was possibly the most vocal Mountain West Conference school criticizing BYU for the move.

The root of this loathing is less well known than the loathing itself, but I think I have figured out why.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mendenhall says Nelson, fans want Lark, I say start whoever gives the best chance to win

Even before time had expired in the Brigham Young Cougars’ 50-14 win over the New Mexico State Aggies in James Lark’s first career start, many BYU fans had already formed an opinion about who should start at quarterback for the Cougars in the Poinsettia Bowl. They wanted an encore from Lark. Almost immediately following the game, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall pronounced injured quarterback Riley Nelson as the starting quarterback, provided he is healthy by December 20. Who should it be, then: Nelson or Lark?

BYU in NFL Report, Week 14: Poppinga plays first game, Keisel gets lots of pressure, Pitta scores TD in tough loss

Three former Brigham Young Cougars played well, but their teams lost important games. NFL teams with former BYU players who rarely see the field, or don’t touch the ball did win.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dennis Pitta talks playoff picture and making a Super Bowl run

Dennis Pitta is, arguably, the best tight end in Brigham Young Cougars history. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in April 2010 following his stellar BYU career. Pitta is the Ravens’ top tight end, and has 45 receptions for 442 yards and 4 touchdowns through the first 12 games this season.

Pitta was gracious enough to answer a few questions for BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

BYU Football: Did you know? (Cody Hoffman in December)

Earlier this week, Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Cody Hoffman was featured on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL for his “November to Remember.” With an important bowl game looming for BYU, it is interesting to see what Hoffman has done in the month of December.

Snubbed: BYU punter Riley Stephenson should be a Ray Guy Award Finalist

Tonight as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, the Augusta Sports Council will hand out the Ray Guy Award to the nation’s best punter. At least, that is the premise for the award. In reality the nation’s best punter might not have even been a finalist for the award. I speak of Brigham Young Cougars punter Riley Stephenson.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Will BYU ever have a second Heisman Trophy winner?

Former Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Ty Detmer was officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Detmer is BYU’s only Heisman Trophy winner. The 2012 Heisman Trophy will be awarded this Saturday. For the 21st year in a row, no BYU players have even a remote chance to win the award. In fact, it will be the biggest surprise of the season if any Cougars finish in the top 10 of Heisman voting.

Flashback: BYU goes to the land down under for final game of the season

Exactly 25 years ago, the Brigham Young Cougars were 8,473 miles from home playing a conference game against Colorado State. The Rams were an additional 293 miles from home. In Melbourne, Australia, BYU beat a Colorado State team that was tougher than their record would indicate in 1987.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

BYU WR Cody Hoffman has a November to Remember

It is just December 4, and I am already tired of the Lexus “December to Remember” commercials. One thing I never get tired of watching are Cody Hoffman highlights. The last two years, this Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver has had his own December to remember events. This year, he bumped it up a month and had an unforgettable November.

Monday, December 3, 2012

BYU in NFL Report, Week 13: Keisel, Denney, Kehl in the spotlight

There was more movement by former Brigham Young Cougars this week as the Kansas City Chiefs let go of Bryan Kehl. Brett Keisel and his Pittsburgh Steelers came out on top this week in the rematch of Steelers vs. Ravens. After making a clutch long snap last week, did John Denney contribute to the Donphins losing?

Football Opponent Tracker: Week 14 Results for BYU's 2012 Opponents

Four Brigham Young Cougars opponents have now won 10 games this season. Two others have the potential to win 10 games with their bowl game. Georgia Tech gave Florida State a scare, and did Oregon State run up the score in unsportsmanlike fashion? Six regular season opponents will play bowl games.